Something I’ve heard over and over from people going through their own journeys and hardships is that they have to adjust to their “new normal”. This has been an interesting concept to me. My life is completely different that it was 5 months ago. My normal has changed weekly since even before the tumor. My normal is never normal. The last “semi-normal” time of my life that I can remember is when I was living with my parents and in high school. Playing soccer, riding down a snow covered mountain, hiking above tree lines, spending all the time I could with my big happy family. Ever since marrying the man of my dreams when I was barely 18 years old, my life has been an ever changing mega-maze. A lot of the madness has to do with my health. I had never had a single surgery before I was married. 2 days after we got home from our honeymoon, I woke up in the middle of the night with horrible pains in my side. My appendix was out within 12 hours. Since then I have averaged about a surgery per year of marriage; That’s not a great track record. Now I’ve passed the years up. 6 surgeries in 5 years of marriage. This is a race I’m very unwillingly pulling ahead in. I don’t remember which hospital stay it was, but while I was fighting some kind of recurring pain strapped to monitors and IV drips, I was talking to my sweet momma who has been with me through them all, and had one of those moments where you realize what’s going on-what the plan here is. God has used each new ailment and bout of pain to “Chisel away” at my character. It is my hope that he produces the kind of steadfastness that would do him proud throughout all of this. And of course I hope that comes soon! I’m praying my hospital days are numbered and that number is dwindling!
As for getting used to my “new normal”, what is that exactly? My normal is constant change. Wether it’s health related (usually) or work related. My normal is moving to Joplin Missouri only a few months after becoming Mrs. Brueckner, accepting a job in Seward, Alaska only a few months after settling in MO, and spending a summer a continent away from friends and family. In fact, my normal included 4 moves (Pagosa-Joplin-Alaska-Joplin-Pagosa) in less than a year, as a newly wed, and in the end, taking on a job as a ranch manager with my husband (we’re doing what?) Only to fall in love with this gorgeous place we have called home for the past four and a half years, the home we brought our two children back to and spent those first blissful days and weeks together in. My normal included desperately wanting a child, losing our first precious baby, then having two perfect sons barely a year apart, only to lose our fourth little miracle just months after big brother was born, and through this process of loss, being mis-diagnosed with a mysterious form of cancer only to find out all was well four months later.
My normal was delivering these children in ways I never imagined and was never prepared for.
Being thrown the joys and hardships of parenting alike while always feeling underprepared and undeserving of these perfect babies. My normal way of stumbling across a career path I had never seen coming, and falling deeply in love with serving women from all different walks of life in this sacred experience of birth and new life. Staring in on my education in this field only to be thrown a brain tumor as soon as I was getting my feet under me. My normal brain tumor experience (is there such a thing?) Receiving test after test, scans, appointments, you name it. Finally, nearly being diagnosed (for a second time in barely over a year) with cancer yet again. The short-lived fear of the big “C”. Going through a craniotomy-temporary blindness-left sided weakness-you know this part… I have come home to a life just as normal as ever. More appointments, living with a little whisper of a tumor for now, healing each day. A quick trip to the clinic which ended up in an afternoon at the emergency room for CT scans and blood work. Totes Normal. (Neck pain at the base of my incision shooting down into my shoulder and back, blurry vision, bad migraines,-but everything checked out OK for now.)
Then a week or so after we were settled back in at home, we rubbed our hands together, and decided it was time for some more normal! Blake and I have come to the end of our time at Mill Creek Ranch (aka the most beautiful place on earth).
We are passing the torch off to the most deserving people we could possibly ask for, and starting out on our own. In four days we should close on a piece of property we are purchasing as a site for our new spec home. While we build, we will be living in a 26 ft. Camper trailer we bought, with our two little guys and our golden retriever. We couldn’t be more excited for this new, totally normal, chapter of our life together. Don’t get me wrong, we. are. BEAT. We have no idea why this was God’s timing for us to start our own building company-weeks after brain surgery-but everything worked just the way it should, no if’s and’s or but’s about it. We know we will have to be incredibly flexible and work our booties off, but we are willing and (nearly) able! I have to wait for my big day of appointments and next MRI on May 11th until I start school back up again, but I’m kind of chomping at the bit here. My way of adjusting to the “New Normal” Is kind of my way of life. Take it as it comes. Know that each life and each story is as unique as the human being who is living it. “Normal” shouldn’t even be a thing in my opinion. I would love to see what that-true, normal, average life-looks like.
My life. My “ab-normal-normal” is going on, same as it always does. I will deal with the highs and lows same as I always try to. Each new high is as different as can be, as well as the lows. Some are higher; Some, much-much lower. Adjust, roll with the punches. Learn when to lean on others, and when to lean against the wind. Do your very best, even if your very best is curling up in bed with an ice pack stuck to your head and a bandana tied around your eyes (my last few migraines…). So go out and live your inspiringly beautiful normal life, and be sure to be willing and able for every crazy, wild, surprising, and devastating twist and turn of it.
Much love and encouragement to you beautiful souls.